Your doctor might ask you to use an ambulatory blood pressure monitor after measuring your blood pressure in the doctor's office, to make sure that you actually have high blood pressure. 1, 2 This is because your blood pressure can change during the day. And sometimes blood pressure is higher only because you are seeing a doctor. This is called white-coat hypertension. To diagnose high blood pressure, your doctor needs to know if your blood pressure stays high throughout the day.
The monitor is a small device that you wear throughout the day and night, usually for 24 or 48 hours. The device takes your blood pressure automatically while you do your normal daily activities and while you sleep.
The device periodically inflates and takes blood pressure measurements, which are recorded for later printout and analysis. The devices are usually loaned by a clinic, hospital, or pharmacy.
If you are required to use an ambulatory blood pressure monitor, keep in mind that it is important for a health professional to properly size the cuff, which fits around your arm. Fitting does not take long.
- Whelton PK, et al. (2017). Guideline for the prevention, detection, evaluation, and management of high blood pressure in adults: A report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Clinical Practice Guidelines. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, published online November 13, 2017. DOI: 10.1016/j.jacc.2017.11.006. Accessed November 20, 2017.
- U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (2015). Hypertension in adults: Screening and home monitoring: Final recommendation statement. http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Document/RecommendationStatementFinal/high-blood-pressure-in-adults-screening. Accessed January 21 , 2016.
Current as of: September 7, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine